11/29/2014 6:12PM

Mr. Jordan answers distance question in Smooth Air

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Natalie Fawkes
Mr. Jordan and Gabriel Saez win the Smooth Air Stakes by 4 1/2 lengths Saturday.

MIAMI – Mr. Jordan did more than earn himself the opportunity to compete in the major 3-year-old preps this winter after cruising to a 4 1/2-length victory over the well-regarded Juan and Bina in Saturday’s $75,000 Smooth Air Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

He also gave trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. and his entourage something to smile about after having watched Itsmyluckyday finish far back a short while earlier in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile.

“This is a bittersweet day, but this was the sweet part,” Plesa said in the winner’s circle after the Smooth Air. “And it’s always better to end on the sweet part.”

Mr. Jordan entered the Smooth Air undefeated after opening his career with a pair of easy victories that included the Juvenile Sprint here three weeks earlier. But the Smooth Air marked the first time the son of Kantharos would try two turns, a major test as far as Plesa was concerned.

With Gabriel Saez subbing for regular rider Paco Lopez, who was aboard Itsmyluckyday in New York, Mr. Jordan broke well and sprinted to command along the inside while pressed from the outset by Juan and Bina. Mr. Jordan rated kindly through realistic early fractions, then answered the question when asked by Saez on the final turn, quickly opening a comfortable lead in early stretch, then  increasing his advantage while hand ridden to the wire.    

Mr. Jordan covered the distance in 1:39.54 over a fast but cuppy racetrack and paid $3.20.        

“He ran a big, big race, and he answered the distance question, no doubt about it,” said Plesa, who trains Mr. Jordan for his wife, Laurie, and her partners, David Ellin and Leon Ellman. “The way he did it was impressive. He rated kindly for Gabe. He never touched him with the stick. He did it all on his own. I’ve got to be happy with everything this horse has done and achieved so far, but there are going to be a lot better horses for him to run against down the road, although this bodes well for the future. It’s very exciting.”         

Brown, Zayas sweep turf stakes

Trainer Chad Brown and jockey Edgard Zayas combined to sweep both turf stakes on Saturday’s Juvenile Showcase card, winning the $75,000 Pulpit with Chief Kitten and the $75,000 Wait a While with Consumer Credit.

Chief Kitten rallied from near the rear of the pack to run down Croninthebarbarian in the final stride and register a neck decision in the one-mile Pulpit. Night Prowler finished just another head back in third. Firespike, the 6-5 favorite, tired down the stretch and finished sixth.

Chief Kitten, a son of Kitten’s Joy owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, paid $13.

Consumer Credit swept four wide with her bid into the stretch, then drew away to an easy victory in the one-mile Wait a While. Lismore outlasted Nicky’s Brown Miss to finish second while no match for the winner at the end.

Consumer Credit is owned by the partnership of Klaravich Stables Inc. and William H. Lawrence. He returned $7.60.